Bands that reunite against all odds with new music after a long hiatus from the limelight offer fans a delectable blend of nostalgia and novelty that is seductive. That being said, if the new material does not stand on its own merit (independent of the halo of the band’s back-catalog), the reality of nostalgia’s limited shelf life starts to seep through and gradually extinguishes the rekindled flame of the band’s return. Sadly, this is a fate that many bands meet. Fortunately, British electronic pop duo (formerly a trio with Steve Hillier) Dubstar appears well positioned towards a trajectory that contradicts this trend – and their new single “Tectonic Plates” is yet another manifestation of this.

This uptempo song kicks off with an infectious synth hook intro whose melody mirrors that of the song’s chorus. Vocalist Sarah Blackwood is bound to lure the listener in quickly with her angelic voice – which she uses to paint the vivid imagery of molten lava rising to the surface of the mantle of the earth’s upper crust (hence the title “Tectonic Plates”) waiting for its forceful eruption into the earth’s atmosphere. This imagery is a metaphor for a long- suppressed love eagerly anticipating its sweet and gushing release from its state of dormancy as highlighted by the lyric in the song’s chorus:

My love awaits, beneath tectonic plates

Restraining in wait, but breaching from below again

On “Tectonic plates”, Dubstar deviates sharply from the standard pop song template. The song’s chorus and verse have the same tune. This might make the reader of this article wonder if it makes the song repetitive. Fortunately, it does not. There is plenty of melodic variation in the song but it comes from sections that are traditionally peripheral to a song’s nucleus (namely its verse and chorus). A euphoric post-chorus and two dissimilar guitar sections (the second one incredibly reminiscent of their outro on their 90s hit single “Anywhere”). Despite Dubstar deviating from the standard pop song structure, they can convincingly trick the listener into believing that they have not and therein lies one of the elements of the song’s brilliance.

‘Tectonic Plates” is the third single released in advance of Dubstar’s upcoming album ‘Two” (presumably the sequel to their comeback album “One“) – after “Hygiene Strip” and “I can see you outside“. Between these three singles, it appears that the band members Chris Wilkie and Sarah Blackwood have revisited the best of their sonic heritage while simultaneously embarking on a quest to outdo themselves. This includes handing over the production reins to Stephen Hague – the producer of their first two hit albums “Disgraceful” and “Goodbye“. It is admirable for a band that rose to prominence in yesteryear to embody the same creative gusto two decades after their debut in the limelight. This is particularly noteworthy in the context of the current musical mainstream and its ageist bias. If there was any ambiguity about the eager anticipation of Dubstar fans for the duo’s upcoming album, the new single “Tectonic plates”, is likely to cause that ambiguity to dissipate. The prolonged tease in the form of fantastic singles released sporadically by Dubstar over the course of the year might leave fans begging for the immediate release of the band’s upcoming album “Two”.

Here is a full-length clip of the song:

STAR RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

RADIO ALERT: “Tectonic Plates” by Dubstar is getting high-rotation airplay on our 24/7 global online broadcast which you can listen to HERE!


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In case you did not pick up on this earlier, the blog you are reading is affiliated with Radio Creme Brulee – an online radio station that features an eclectic mix of current pop and rock music from both sides of the Atlantic alongside hits, forgotten gems, and rarities from the last three decades. Alongside newer artists, we also play plenty of newer music by bands that rose to prominence in the 80s and the 90s. Noteworthy examples include Simply Red, Wet Wet Wet, Kylie Minogue, Dubstar, Tears For Fears, Duran Duran, Camouflage, Spandau Ballet, INXS, Depeche Mode, Suede, The Corrs, Jamiroquai, Johnny Hates Jazz, Simple Minds, and Culture Club.

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